It's always a delight to visit my friend, Byron, in his comfortable home. He definitely has a way with plants and was happy to let me photograph him with his specimens. His Ficus benjamina, the lush leafy tree right next to him, was a rescue plant.
One of his neighbors was ready to give up on it and he retrieved it from the lobby where it had been set out for disposal. It was looking on the thin and pitiful side when he first brought it in. Now it is lush and gorgeous thanks to his devoted care! I'll get to writing about his other plants another day very soon.
While I was there, we decided it was time to clean his ficus. The leaves had become quite dusty and cleaning the leaves will allow them to in the light better and breathe easier. He lives in an apartment so this had to be done indoors. Into the shower it went. It cleaned up beautifully!
- At least some direct sun is usually recommended.They can thrive in full sun indoors, but often do well in very bright indirect light. The more light it receives the fuller and thicker the leaf mass will grow.
- Don't put them outside in full sun. They can live in semi-shade or shade outdoors for the summer but the light outside is much more intense so please keep them shaded somewhat outdoors.
- The most important aspect to keeping them lush is giving them a very good soaking as soon as the top of the soil dries out. A plant in a 10" (25cm) diameter pot will take a 1/2 gallon (about 2 liters) of water when ready. Give a ficus in a 14"(35 cm) diameter pot a full gallon (almost 4 liters). Make sure your ficus is not sitting in water for over one day.
- Fertilize regularly
- Every once in a while, give them a good shower with the garden hose or in the bathtub to clean up the leaves. You can mix up a tsp. of mild dishwashing detergent in a pint bottle of water, shake it up, and spray it on the leaves first and let it sit for just a few minutes, then gently spray away.
- They can be pruned to shape.This will keep them manageable indoors.